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If you are involved and injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver and you wonder whether or not you are able to sue the driver, the answer to this is a resounding ‘yes, you can!’ When people are injured as a result of other individuals careless, reckless and negligent behavior, which includes driving under the influence, you can file a personal injury claim based on negligence. This article will discuss suing a drunk driver for injuries caused in a car accident.
Filing a civil claim for personal injury against a drunk driver who caused your injuries can help relieve the financial anxiety and potential economic ruin the car accident injuries can cause. Being appropriately compensated for the losses you incurred as a result of the driver’s negligent actions can be a good reason for filing a claim beyond what an insurance company may have offered to settle.
There are a number of damages then you can claim in order to get compensation for, however these are dependent upon the circumstances of your particular case and the severity of your losses. Some of the damages you can receive compensation for include the following:
Medical bills incurred
Future potential medical bills
Future income you can no longer receive
Pain and suffering
Property damages, etc.
It is important to note that despite how obvious your case may seem concerning a drunk driver, it is of the utmost important to prove negligence. It is necessary to note that in order to win a personal injury case negligence must be proven which is not always obvious or easy. As a result, it is shrewd on the part of the victim to consult an auto accident lawyer in Alaska experienced in car accident personal injury cases. The car accident attorney can look at all the facts of your case and advise you as to the viability of your case, how long it might take and how much you can realistically expect to receive. When deciding on an attorney to represent your interests it is important to look for one in your state who is knowledgeable about your state laws surrounding car accidents and compensation.
While the fault of the drunk driver may seem cut-and-dry it is important to consider whether or not you were partially to blame for the accident. Where this is the case it must be noted that compensation will be based on the percentage of fault of the plaintiff.
In the state of Alaska, you can recover compensation from the at-fault driver by their liability insurance policy. However, it is important to note that every insurance policy is limited as to the maximum coverage provided. Thereafter, the defendant may be liable to pay compensation out of their own pocket.
If you refuse the settlement offer given by the insurance company and are suing the drunk driver in court you will need to work with an attorney to collect the following information with regards to the accident:
All other written evidence surrounding your case
This is called the discovery phase. After discovery the case will go to court. It is not uncommon that sometime during the case a settlement may be offered by the person being sued in order to avoid going to trial. If this happens you can review the numbers offered for settlement with your attorney and decide whether or not you will accept the settlement offer.
If you choose to go to trial, a date will be set and your attorney and the drunk driver’s attorney will argue the case to a jury. Once this period of argument is complete a verdict will be rendered and compensation may be awarded.
It is important to keep in mind that there are statutes of limitations in filing a personal injury claim. According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute the statute of limitations is defined as, “Any law that bars claims after a certain period of time passes after an injury. The period of time varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of claim.” In the state of Alaska, the statute of limitations on a personal injury case is 3 years.
It is important to note that even if the drunk driver responsible for injuries was arrested and is facing criminal charges you can still pursue and bring a civil lawsuit against him or her seeking money damages. In addition, even if the person is acquitted on the criminal charges, they may still be found liable in a civil case and be ordered to pay compensation. Bearing in mind that in order to prove one’s personal injury case it is necessary to prove negligence on the part of the at-fault driver.
Generally, bringing a lawsuit is a complex process, as a result it is wise to consult an experienced personal injury attorney about the process and what you can expect.